Avocado, a green fruit native to Central and South America, has travelled far and wide. Its popularity has grown across the globe. Once looked at with suspicion on account of its high fat content, Avocado has now found a place on the healthy eater’s plate. Replacing egg and toast with avocado on toast is not unusual. While the high-priced and exotic fruit is most loved as guacamole, the soft buttery flesh is also used in salads, sushi and smoothies.
The average serving of an avocado provides a high-nutrient and photochemical (disease fighting) dense food consisting of fibre, magnesium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Lutein, Zeaxanthin and phytosterols. These high-quality calories not only provide nutrients but also help in better absorption of nutrients. Recent research has demonstrated that avocados, besides being delicious, also offer powerful health benefits.
Avocado is high in a fat called monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), similar to the one found in olive oil. Avocado contains almost 5-20 per cent fat, of which approximately 70 per cent is MUFA.
MUFA are healthy fats, which help in reduction of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL). The monounsaturated fat, oleic acid, present in avocados plays an important role in lowering cholesterol. Presence of soluble fibre in avocados also helps in lowering cholesterol.
Preliminary clinical studies have also reported that avocado consumption helps support cardiovascular health, weight management and ageing. Some scientific studies also shown that alpha linoleic acid — (a special anti inflammatory fat) carotenoids and Vitamin E present in avocado extract helps in inhibition of prostrate cell growth.
Beta – sitosterol, a phytosterol present in avocados, is also known to play an important role in prevention of cancer cell growth. A study published in 2013 stated that avocado consumption is associated with better quality nutrient intake and lower risk of metabolic syndrome in adults.
A recent study in 2016 highlighted the role of avocado in maternal diets, especially during periconceptional period, pregnancy and lactation. It’s no surprise that eating avocados can have a protective effect on skin and hair health.
Even if you are trying to lose weight or count calories, this fat-rich fruit can be enjoyed as a buttery green sandwich spread, diced in your salad, or as your favourite guacamole dip. It will not only keep you full and help you drop the kilos, but may also make your skin soft and radiant.